Doll play – Child

dolls child - CopyDoll play allows your child to act out situations that are new or troubling to them. It allows them to work through strong feelings in a safe way. They may do or say things to dolls they wouldn’t with family. This all helps their social and emotional development.

Did you know?

Doll play is important in helping children learn how to grow up – miniaturizing the world to their size helps them make sense of it, control it, and learn the different roles people play.

Add language

When you are included in the play, follow your child’s lead and keep the conversation going. Make comments and ask occasional questions that encourage thinking and reasoning e.g. “Baby’s plate is empty”, “What would happen if ….”, or “What else could we use”.

Include some more complex language such as emotion words e.g. “He’s frustrated because he can’t reach”.

Adding dolls or people/characters to other play materials e.g. vehicle play increases the likelihood of talking during play.

Other development

Children acting out real or fantasy roles that go beyond simple recreating domestic routines, is important to developing planning, thinking and reasoning skills.

New ideas can be introduced by including fantasy characters, superheroes, or community workers such as doctors, firefighters, bus drivers etc.

Having paper and things to write with encourages “writing” of notes, messages, lists etc as part of the pretend play with dolls.


Use dolls or action figures to act out themes from books you have shared.

Across the ages

All the activities listed on our “Play Ideas” page can be applied across different age groups. Check out doll play for babiestoddlers and playgroups.


Activities listed under “child” are suitable for children 3 years and older.  Children of this age enjoy more complex activities where they can develop their skills and use their imagination while playing with friends.